Objective: To improve, with the aid of psychometric analysis, the Balance Evaluation Systems Test (BESTest), a tool designed to analyse several postural control systems that may contribute to poor functional balance in adults.
Methods: Performance of the BESTest was examined in a convenience sample of 115 consecutive adult patients with diverse neurological diagnoses and disease severity, referred to rehabilitation for balance disorders. Factor (both explorative and confirmatory) and Rasch analysis were used to process the data in order to produce a new, reduced and coherent balance measurement tool.
Results: Factor analysis selected 24 out of the 36 original BESTest items likely to represent the unidimensional construct of "dynamic balance". Rasch analysis was then used to: (i) improve the rating categories, and (ii) delete 10 items (misfitting or showing local dependency). The model consisting of the remaining 14 tasks was verified with confirmatory factor analysis to meet the stringent requirements of modern measurement.
Conclusion: The new 14-item scale (dubbed mini-BESTest) focuses on dynamic balance, can be conducted in 10-15 min, and contains items belonging evenly to 4 of the 6 sections from the original BESTest. Further studies are needed to confirm the usefulness of the mini-BESTest in clinical settings.